NAPLES – Learning takes place in all sorts of environments – including when school is not in session. Twelve students enrolled in The Immokalee Foundation’s programs attended overnight camps in New England.
Three students journeyed to Camp Deerwood in the White Mountains of central New Hampshire. The camp is for boys 8 to 15, who spend at least three weeks participating in activities of their choosing, including archery, blacksmithing, ceramics, sailing, riflery, windsurfing, tennis, and canoeing.
The Deerwood Foundation, along with a contribution from The Immokalee Foundation, pays camp costs.
Eduardo Chavez attended Deerwood recently for the third time. As an 11th grader, he was invited to return as a counselor in training.
“Going to Camp Deerwood as a C.I.T. is a whole new experience,” Chavez said. “It’s a place where I was able to improve skills such as leadership and communication, and I was able to increase my level of responsibility. As a C.I.T., I was able to help out counselors at activities. It’s amazing that I was able to give kids one of the best experiences of their lives.”
Ninth-grader Lily Salazar left her Immokalee home to travel out of state without her parents for the first time, as one of nine campers to attend Kingsley Pines in Raymond, Maine. “I was happy, excited and nervous – all of the emotions,” Salazar said. The Immokalee Foundation pays a scholarship rate of $600 for six students to attend Kingsley Pines, and purchases clothing and supplies for both camps. This year, another organization provided more scholarships for Kingsley Pines.
The Aspiration Campers Fund, through the Community Foundation of Collier County, https://www.cfcollier.org/specific-funds/ provides money to cover additional costs, at $18,000, and Patrick and Joyce Coughlan – the owners of Kingsley Pines – cover campers’ costs as well.
The three-week camp is for boys and girls, who stay on separate campuses but are together for activities such as kayaking, sailing, dance, photography, stained glass, whitewater rafting, and more.
Students were chosen for camps based on their grades and accountability, as well as an essay about why they wanted to attend.
Salazar said she wrote that being somewhere peaceful and “unplugged,” without a cell phone, would be good. Both camps stress a technology-free experience, where campers interact face-to-face at all times.
At Kingsley Pines, Salazar’s favorite activities were whitewater rafting and paddleboarding. She made friends and keeps in touch with campers from Massachusetts, South Carolina, and the Dominican Republic.
The Immokalee Foundation provides a range of education programs that focus on building pathways to professional careers through support, mentoring and tutoring, and life skills development leading to economic independence. To learn more about The Immokalee Foundation, becoming a mentor, its signature events, volunteering as a career panel speaker or host, making a donation, including the foundation in your estate plans, or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit https://immokaleefoundation.org.